MA (Master of Arts)
Communication and Storytelling Studies
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Amber E. Kinser
Christine K. Anzur, Julia C. Dodd, Jennifer A. Adler
This study explores women’s experiences with infertility in Christian faith communities. Drawing from nine one-on-one interviews, the author argues that the presence of particular religious ideologies, social interactions, and rituals within faith communities contributed to the stigmatization and marginalization of study participants. Employing Muted Group Theory, the author uncovers the communicative strategies infertile women employ to resist these oppressive practices. A qualitative analysis of participants’ narratives presents two principal categories, containing a total of four findings relating to the harmful beliefs and practices of these women’s faith communities. The author argues that the veneration of motherhood and children suggests that infertile women inherently lack purpose and value and that the failure of Christian faith communities to provide safe environments for women without children exacerbates their isolation and grief. Action steps for Christian faith communities are recommended.
Thesis - unrestricted
Paulsen, Donna, ""No One's Gonna Say That at Church:" Women's Experiences with Infertility in Christian Faith Communities" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 3708. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/3708
Copyright by the authors.